Tuesday, June 11, 2013


Last weekend saw the first preserves of the season being made.  We have a small rhubarb patch (every homestead needs one don't you think?) that gives us a surprising number of stalks each year.  Some of this year's bounty has been made into Rhubarb Relish, it's deliciously sweet and tart and pairs well with meat.

Four cups each of rhubarb and onion (along with the appropriate sugar, vinegar and spices) yielded 5, 250ml jars of goodness.  It's the perfect small batch recipe and the cooking time was only about 45 minutes.  I do enjoy my time spent making preserves!  I love spending time in the garden too and did just that this weekend as well.  It took just a couple of hours divided between two weekends to add more mulch, finish the mulch that was left undone from last year, add a bit more soil to the beds and plant.  Such a small effort for some truly great, future results.

I planted tomato and kale plants, as well as seeds for lettuce, onions, pumpkin, beans, peas, beets and carrots.  I ended up with some left over seeds as the beds are really quite small and manageable, and planted them in my experimental, permaculture (ish), forest, food garden.  Let me explain....

....you see the wooded area above...that's just outside of my house.  That whole brown area on the ground was covered in dense spruce that blocked a lot of light from coming into our living room.  We wanted to keep the trees but let in that precious light so we had a go at cleaning out the bottom limbs.  After doing so, the light was noticeably better in the house, we had a view of the orchard from the living room and we discovered this deep, rich, alive, composted, forest floor.

So, after reading up on, and watching many documentaries on Permaculture (and of course not having very much available time) I thought I could do an "annual" version of at least 4 of the 7 layers that a Food Forest Garden would be made of.  When we have more time to commit, we will take these principles and, overtime, develop a proper, perennial Food Forest Garden (maybe in the orchard).....for now though...this is what I've done.  All along the base of the skinny maples, I planted pole beans and peas in the hopes that they will have enough light to sprout and grow, using the maples for support.  Further from the base of the trees, I planted some onions and some squash and zucchini...I figure the heartier vines of the squash and zucchini can either trail along the ground or find their way up the larger trees.  I also stuck some sunflower seeds here and there around the property in such a way as to keep them from the lawn mower.  Mother Nature was very kind to provide some much needed rain....

...now lets see what happens....

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